The day before was wet and rough, but Sunday, Sept. 20 brought sunny skies and conditions that were only too favourable to the Christie Conservation Area in Dundas, Ont. That morning, the 2015 Dirt Squirrel ‘Cross kicked off, an event that saw the Elite men and women of the race competing on rough, bumpy ground, tearing up dirt and hiking their bikes through courses that averaged just over 15 kilometres. For the Master men’s and women’s categories, meanwhile, it was an even longer haul — 22.95 kilometres, with riders in that category averaging 22.2 kph.
The Dirt Squirrel cyclocross event, hosted by Slow Burn Racing at Christie Lake in the general conservation area, is known for offering one of the best prize pools in Ontario for ‘cross riders. The nature of this year’s course, no doubt, reflected that. Winning cyclists truly earned it this year on the fast, technical terrain, grounds marked by lots of loose sand, looming obstacles and tricky turns.
Where there are climbs on the Dundas, Ont. terrain, they tend to be more gradual and less intense. What makes up for it, though, are all the tight routes through the trees along the lake, and the stretches of flat, fast ground — at least where the grass and soil don’t slow down riders, at any rate. With the sounding of the event’s opening bugle, it was a frenzy, and a doubly impressive one in light of the challenging ourse.
— Waterloo Cycling (@WaterlooCC) September 20, 2015
Elite race highlights
The Elite 4 men’s class saw Aaron Hamill of Waterloo Cycling Club finish in first place, posting a winning time of 0:38:44 — a gap of only a second ahead of second place finisher Connor Gregory. The Bateman’s Bicycle Company rider, with a time of 0:01 behind the leader, found himself four seconds ahead of James Fedosov of Speed River Cycling Club, while Sean Poulter of Lapdogs Cycling Club finished in fourth place, 0:15 behind Hamill. Fifth place also went to Bateman’s Bicycle Company, when Chris Wedeles finished the fast course — riders averaged 19.8 kph — with a time of 0:38.
The Elite 3 men’s competition was a somewhat longer course: 15.3 km, with a smaller field of riders averaging 20.9 kph throughout the race. Riding for Neworld Cycle, Mark Brouwer finished in first place, posting a time of 0:44:00, fifteen seconds ahead of Gabhan Chalmers of Speed River Cycling Club in second place. Nearly thirty seconds behind Chalmers was Marshall Eidinger, with the Morning Glory Cycling Club rider finishing 0:44 behind the leader. Paul Mckeever clocked a time of 1:03 in fourth place , while Jacob Williams, riding for Cycle Solutions, claimed fifth with 1:08.
Of all the riders hitting the dirt in Dundas on Sunday, though, it was the Elite 1&2 men’s division who seemed to have the most fun.
In that competition, the course length was 22.95 km, with racers averaging an even 22.5 kph throughout competition. By its conclusion, Trevor O’donnell of Real Deal/Gears p/b Waspcam posted the winning time of 1:01:20. With an eighteen second gap behind Odonnell, Jon Winfield of Awi Racing came in second, while Eric Box took the third spot on the podium with a time of 0:30 behind the leader. Fourth place went to William Elliott of Team NCCH p/b DEC Express, clocking 0:58, with Chris Barson two seconds behind with a time of 1:00 after O’donnell’s winning time.
The Elite women’s category, meanwhile — 15.3 km, with an average speed of 20.8 kph — went to Ashley Barson, with the Rise Racing p/b Cyclepath Wood rider clocking the winning time of 0:44:06. With a sizable gap behind Barson of 1:57, independent Mandy Dreyer finished in second place, while Tabi Ferguson of Waterloo Cycling Club was a little under two minutes behind Dreyer in third — 3:41 behind Barson’s winning time.
Nicole Visschedyk of Bateman’s Bicycle Company claimed fourth place with 4:19, and Carolyn Smith, also from Waterloo Cycling Club, finished 5:58 back in fifth.